Know Jack #63

I’m going to do something today that I have never done before…support a corporate giant. Wal-Mart to be specific. I know, I know, they exploit the poor children of Asia and drive small business out of business and all that crap. I’m not denying that, but I do wish to qualify it…or you can just say I’m out to justify myself and my shopping habits.

Here’s why I support Wal-Mart. Last Saturday when I was stranded miles from any town with a flat tire, Wal-Mart was the only place open to buy a new one before Monday morning.

The small, and not-so-small business didn’t give a shit. They were having their weekend off and the world be damned. I was an ER nurse for many years. weekends, holidays, after everyone else went home, that wasn’t closing time, that was shit is getting real-time. I still live 27/7 and if you really want my business…you do too or you’re pretty damn close to it. Sorry, Les Schwab, Discount Tire and the rest that’s why you are a distant second.

The above example expanded today when I went looking for a wheel and a tire to make myself a real spare for my car. The tire shops, junkyards, and Jeep, if they could even find the wheel…and a many could not. They could not do the job for less than $270. Yeah, Jeep? They wanted $600. Guess who came through…yep, Wal-Mart two day free shipping to my door for $117. I going to have a new spare before the weekend.

Now, as far as poor Asians and their kids…I wonder how many are complaining. Years ago when I was overseas, the minimum wage where I lived was $0.15/hr (the US at the time $1.95). Most people in that economy would kill to get fifteen cents an hour because minimum wage “laws” there didn’t mean squat. I paid $5/week to have my laundry done and room cleaned. The fellow working for me guarded his job (and my stuff) like his life depended on it…because it did. Would he have liked to make US minimum wage? Hell, yeah. I’d like to make seven figures a year, but I ain’t crying because I don’t. He had no problem with the wage because people were sitting on corners begging and he had a steady paying job.

Call me an imperialistic oppressor and an unrepentant capitalist…and you are spot on. No apologies here. The truth is I will pay a bit more to keep mom and pop operations, or other small businesses going. I’d rather shop the farmer’s market than any big grocery store. I’d rather dine at local restaurants than chains too. America needs these people and their businesses. The problem is that the folks who operate these businesses want to work when everybody else is working. That makes it tough to shop there. Is that Wal-Mart’s fault? I think not.

Supply and demand is a bitch. If you can’t supply what the market demands, you are soon out of business. I know whereof I speak…I’m hawking my books wherever I can with no way to beat the giants, that includes Wal-Mart. I’m pretty good with the supply end, it’s the demand I struggle with. But, again, why order my books, when Wal-Mart, Barnes and Noble, and Books-a-Million have endless shelves full of books.

Wal-Mart has also done a fair job of not shooting themselves in the foot with the loaded of its CEO, unlike Gillette, Starbucks, Camping World, Nike, and Dick’s. When Wal-Mart does screw up in the political correctness arena, the seem to respond to the concerns of their customer base in a positive way.

Here’s the real clincher. What better place to people-watch than Wal-Mart? You know they have no competition when it comes to crazies, red necks and just plain strange people haunting the aisles. 

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